Build Bigger Biceps

flexed biceps

The Most Complete Nutritional Sprays on The Planet!

- Increase Performance!
- Weight Management!
- Sleep Support!
- Promote Wellness!
- Increase Natural Energy!

Click here to find out more

Today, I'd like to provide you with some much needed information about building bigger biceps.

Now, I'm sure if you're reading this page, you're looking to add some size to your biceps. I'm sure that you've also done some initial research on the internet looking for some guidance about programs and techniques.

I've also done some research and there is some conflicting information about what programs to follow, what exercises to do and so forth.

With that in mind, I'm going to give you, what I think are the best techniques. The way I look at it, you're going to have to train biceps in a very specific way that is conducive to building muscle. I've broken down the main steps and they are as follows:

1) Know Where You're Going
2) Specialization
3) Exercise Periods
4) Exercise Selection - Direct Exercises
5) Exercise Selection - Indirect Exercises
6) Muscle Building Exercises
7) Diet
8) Rest
9) Supplements

What I'd like to do is go over each and discuss the importantance of each in area.

1) Know Where You're Going

Simply showing up to the gym and doing 10 sets of barbell curls will do nothing for your biceps growth. The first thing you need to do is get a starting point. The only way to do this is take out a measuring tape and weight scale.

What you want to do is get an accurate measurement of your arm when it's relaxed and when it's in a flexed position. Once you do both, write them down in a log of some sort and get the date down. Go to the following web page:

Free Weight Lifting Charts

And save this log to your desktop. Once you’ve done this, print it out. Write down your measurements in this log. The next thing your going to do is hop on a weight scale and take down your weight. Write this number down in the log. Remember, date the log.

What you’re doing here is getting a starting point, which is very, very important in weight training. Once you know what your starting point is, you can decide what your goals are. Realistically, you can probably expect to gain anywhere from ½ “ to 1 ½ “ to your biceps in a 12 week training cycle. That is, of course if you do everything right.

So, if your arms are 15", you can realistically expect an increase to 15 ½ inches to 16 ½ inches. This all depends on how dedicated you are with your training and diet. Setting a goal for 20 inch arms is unrealistic. Only a small percentage of the population can attain a 20 inch arm. Of course, this all depends on your genetics and this will determine how big your biceps can get - Over a period of time (usually years). However, 18" and 19" arms are realistic (Over the course of a few years) and believe me, these are pretty big arms.

Take small steps in terms of periodic training cycles, and you’ll reach your goals. Ok, write down your goal and in 12 weeks your going to see that you’ve reached this measurement.

Now, you're going to be taking your arm measurements every week as well as your body weight. Each should be increasing with each measurement.

2) Specialization

This probably the most important aspect to improving any body part. However, it’s one that is not really discussed in the muscle magazines or the internet. I first heard about specialization when I was reading an interview article with the great Arnold. He said that whenever he wanted to improve a body part, he would make it a priority in his weight training program. It only makes sense that if you want to improve something, you step up your efforts to make sure it improves.

Take calves for example. Most people with weak calves will say that they simply don't have the genetics for building huge calves. However, if you take a look at their training routines, you'll see calves tucked deep down after training quadriceps, and hamstrings, doing maybe 3 to 4 sets of light calf raises. It doesn't work like that. I order to improve a weak body part, you have to train it like it's your favourite body part.

I hope you understand that to truly build big biceps, you need to specialize and train them first and foremost. Here’s what I suggest. Train your biceps and triceps on the first day of you training program. You will have to re-structure your current weight training program but believe me, if you want big biceps, you're going to have to. Here’s a sample training schedule:

Day 1
Biceps and Triceps

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4
Back and Chest

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

This is just a sample and you will have to come up with a weight training plan that is suitable for you.

3) Exercise Periods

The thing you have to remember about biceps is that they are a small muscle group. It doesn’t take much work in order to stimulate growth but there is a very fine line when it comes to doing too much for the biceps.

Biceps overtraining is a common thing and what people fail to understand is that any pulling motion involves the biceps. This is probably one of the main reasons why hard working weight trainers can’t seem to get their biceps to grow.

Your biceps are constantly being worked from other exercises and really, they only need brief, intense workout sessions to cause growth. For this reason, I would say to train them once per week. Yep, only once per week. Trust me, if you're doing everything right, once per week is all you need and you will see the results you're looking for.

When you structure your training program, just make sure that you give your biceps enough rest periods to cause muscle growth. Training back a day after you’ve trained biceps is not a smart thing to do. If you’re doing it now, stop immediately. What you want to do is give your biceps at least two to three days rest in between each training session. See the above sample weight training routine.

I’m going to tell you right now, that compound movements such as barbell bent over rows, and chin ups provide just as much muscle stimulation, if not more, than regular biceps exercises. I’m going to discuss this shortly but just remember, indirect exercises are the main biceps builders in your training program.

4) Exercise Selection - Direct Exercises

I’m going to tell you right now that you don’t need 25 sets for biceps. Doing 5 exercises for 5 sets is not a smart way to train. Drop the Arnold workouts and cut down on the amount of sets and exercises you're doing for biceps.

Really, you only need 3 exercises for the biceps and that’s plenty. Here is a sample biceps workout to do:

Biceps Exercise #1 - Standing Barbell Curls

Warm up: 1 x 20 repetitions
Set one: 1 x 8 repetitions with 50% of your maximum
Set two: 1 x 8 repetitions with 60% of your maximum
Set three: 1 x 8 repetitions with 70% of your maximum
Set four: 1 x 8 repetitions with 80% of your maximum

Biceps Exercise #2 - Seated Dumbbell Curls

Set one: 1 x 10 repetitions with 60% of your maximum
Set two: 1 x 10 repetitions with 70% of your maximum
Set three: 1 x 8 repetitions with 80% of your maximum
Set four: 1 x 8 repetitions with 80% of your maximum

Biceps Exercise #3 - Preacher Curls

4 sets of 12 repetitions

For preacher curls you should be using moderate weight for this exercise since you really want to do this exercise nice and slow.

This is all you need to really stimulate your biceps. Anymore is overkill and you might be doing more harm than good. Remember, less is more!

Here's a very important point that I'd like to make. With each workout, you must improve. You can either use more weight, more reps, or do the workout faster. If you don't improve from workout to workout, there is no reason why your body needs to grow. You see, improvement means growth. Understand this principle and you'll build huge muscles.

5) Exercise Selection - Indirect Exercises

Alright, this is very important so you may want to listen up. You absolutely must have compound pulling movements in your weight training program. If you want to build big biceps, you're going to have to start doing these exercises. What I’m talking about are bent over barbell rowing, T bar rows, seated pulley’s, single arm dumbbell rows, dead lifts and chin ups. What you want to do is incorporate these exercises into your back routine and not your biceps routine.

Let’s take the above noted sample training schedule. On day 4, you will train back and shoulders. I want you to train back first and really concentrate on moving some heavy weight. The majority of your back exercises should be compound movements.

Here's a page you may want to take a look at for the importance of doing compound movements:

Importance of compound movements

Whenever I need to add some size to my arms, I add in core compound movements. Believe me, your biceps will receive much more muscle stimulation doing a heavy set of reverse grip barbell bent rows than they will with concentration curls.

Here’s a sample back routine that includes compound movements:

Exercise # 1 - Chin Ups
3 x 12 repetitions

Exercise # 2 - Reverse Grip Barbell Bent Over Row
4 x 8 repetitions

Exercise # 3 - Seated Cable Pulley Rows
3 x 10 repetitions

Exercise # 4 - Standing Dumbbell Shrugs
4 x 12 repetitions

Nothing fancy about this back routine but it is very effective for building a big back and especially effective for building big biceps.

Now, you should be spacing your back workout about 3 days apart from doing your main biceps workout. See the above noted sample workout routine.

6) Muscle Building Exercises

These exercise are not directly involved in your biceps routine but they are pure muscle builders. The two main exercise you may want to incorporate into your training routine are squats and dead lifts. You may be thinking, what does squats have to do with biceps training? Well, everything really. Doing heavy squats has a magical way of making your whole body grow. The reason is that they require so much effort and intensity to do them that it causes a huge surge of growth hormone and testosterone release in your body. As you may or may not know, these hormones are responsible for muscle growth. The more natural production of these hormones you have in your body, the better.

7) Diet

In order to get big strong arms, you need to build muscle mass. In order to build large muscles, you need to increase your intake of nutrients. If you're thinking that you can add two inches of muscle to your arms while trying to get a six pack of abs, it's not going to happen. Building muscle mass required calories, and lots of them. Drop the six pack abs diet and get on a diet that's loaded with plenty of calories, protein, carbs, and quality fats.

I’ll be very honest here, you want to actually add body weight here in order to start building big biceps. If you want to get big and strong, you have to start eating to get big.

To structure your optimal weight lifting diet, please visit Building muscle101's weight lifting diet page. Check out the following page the get an idea of how to add muscle mass:

Building Muscle Mass

8) Rest

I’ll keep this nice and simple. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each and every night. Late nights and parties will kill your progress and should be avoided at all costs if you want to build big biceps.

It is very important that you get into the habit of getting quality rest every night. What you have to remember is that your body actually grows and builds muscle while you are sleeping, not while your weight training. If you can get the necessary rest, your body will use that time to repair and build muscle tissue, which is what you want.

9) Supplements

Supplements have there place in sports and weight training. However, the most important point to remember about supplements is that they only work once your have your diet and training in place. Supplements help to enhance a weight training program that's already working. I'd only suggest that you use supplements after 6 to 8 weeks of steady weight training. This way, your body will make the most of these sports supplements. If you feel you are ready to use supplements and are interested in using them to help with your weight training program, please see the following page:

Supplements To Increase Size

Weight Lifting Supplements

Alright, there you have it, a formula that shows you how to get big biceps. If you can implement the above mentioned points, I’m sure you’ll build the kind of biceps your looking for.

The latest news from Building Muscle 101

Delicious easy to make power oatmeal recipe!

Good luck and always stay postive


As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

Home > Tools and Resources HQ > Articles > Muscle Articles